In the northern USA something exceptional and exceptionally important is happening right now. People have been coming from near and far to stand with indigenous people of the Great Sioux Nation as they seek to protect their sacred lands and water from the threat of an oil pipeline. The story of the struggle to resist the Dakota Access Pipeline—to demonstrate that people are more powerful than dollars—is capturing imaginations and headlines the world over.
Intending to carry 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Bakken region of western North Dakota across South Dakota and Iowa to connect with an existing pipeline in Illinois, the Dakota Access Pipeline is set to make 200 river crossings in four states, including across the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers. The project gravely threatens sacred sites and the drinking water supplies for more than ten million people.
In response to what is in effect an ongoing invasion by a system that disrespects everything, indigenous people from many Native American tribes have together formed a blockade camp at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. Their resistance is based on a common vision to protect their ancestral lands using non-violence. Together they are defying a system that is rooted in violence against the earth and in disregard of the interconnectedness that supports us all.
In recent weeks the camp of non-violent “protectors not protestors” has grown in numbers from a handful, to hundreds and then thousands, and legal injunctions have been sought to stop the construction of the pipeline. While similar to the controversial Keystone Pipeline recently stopped by the Obama administration, the Dakota Access Pipeline does not cross international borders and hence does not fall under the US federal jurisdiction.
At dawn on Wednesday 24th August, a flock of Climate Guardian Angels proudly manifested on the Princes Bridge—a key gateway in to Melbourne Australia—to demonstrate their support for the indigenous Native American protectors standing strong at Standing Rock. The 24th was chosen as a global Day of Prayer and Action because it was the day that a ruling re the community’s legal injunction against the project was to have been determined. Unable to come to a decision, the judge has since delayed his ruling until 9 September.
Just as the mining, burning and exporting of Australian coal and gas poses grave risks for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and greater local environment and further gravely threatens the global climate from exposure to greenhouse gas, so too does the Dakota Access Pipeline. Given the wholesale failure of governments to halt these life-threatening projects, it’s vital that globally connected local communities stand together now. We must identify and defend all ‘hot spots’ (or rather ‘halt spots’) at risk from fossil fuel related activities. We must keep all coal, oil and gas in the ground while we replace dangerous energy projects with locally owned and controlled zero pollution energy systems.
The action now unfolding at Standing Rock Reservation is a shining example of people taking action to protect their local, and by consequence the global environment, from the destruction wrought by the fossil fuel industry. We hope all people gathering at Standing Rock take further great strength from knowing that theirs is a historic action. That, as the eyes of the compassionate world are on them, they feel emboldened by the recognition that their actions come at a moment in history when everything can change.
And so the global wave of resistance to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground rolls on. There is no stopping it now. Change is happening. All around the world people are waking up to their power, becoming active in the protection of the precious natural world.
Climate Guardians are beyond proud to stand in solidarity with all ‘protectors’. Together we are fighting for all life.
#WaterIsLife #NoDAPL #leaveitintheground